FYF 2017 Line-Up

The FYF Lineup has arrived and it is truly a blessing from above. With Missy Elliott and Björk headlining on the same day (July 21) and Frank Ocean and Nine Inch Nails headlining on the two other days (July 22-23), FYF is sure to be packed full of a diverse group of youngsters. However, the big-name stars performing at FYF come at a cost: tickets are on sale for $299 rather than $199.

FYF has evolved from a single-day attraction in 2009, to a three-day festival that features many mainstream and iconic names. Unlike Coachella, most of the people that attend FYF are there mainly for the music, not for the Instagram boomerangs and the fashion. Located in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, FYF will please fans of older music (with the #throwback hits of Tribe Called Quest and Iggy Pop), fans of current music (with Solange and Anderson.Paak) and fans of artists on the rise (such as Cherry Glazerr and Mitski).

So, below are a few artists playing at FYF that I highly suggest you check out!

Frank Ocean

It’s a no-brainer. Frank Ocean has been AWOL for a little too long, so any time he is in town or playing a show nearby, it’s basically mandatory! He dropped an album last year called “Blonde” and has so many great hits within that album, such as “Solo” and “Ivy.” He still has the iconic album “Channel Orange” under his belt, as well. When he performs the songs “Thinking of You” and “Super Rich Kids,” I’ll definitely be there screaming the words.

Photo (A Seat at the Table) by Dani Miller. Click image to view source. Photo unchanged. License

Solange

The goddess herself is sharing her beautiful music with us at FYF. Solange is known for her pop/R&B album, “A Seat At The Table,” which covers many subjects ranging from the Black Lives Matter protests to black culture in general. It’s refreshing to see Solange making a name for herself, other than “Beyonce’s sister.” I, for one, am a firm believer that her music proves to be genuine and unique, rather than commercialized and stereotypical. Not to mention, she has really good dance moves. So, go see Solange at FYF to feel #empowered.

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen, an angel herself, will be blessing us with hits such as “Shut Up, Kiss Me” and “Intern” from her latest album, “My Woman.” With a more pop/gritty sound that showcases pain, love and self reflection, her music will sound beautiful live at FYF. I was able to watch some of her set at Coachella 2014, and it’s true that her music definitely has changed from “sad girl” music to a more upbeat sound. Because of that, I’m even more excited to see and hear her new music live at FYF.

I could talk about this line-up for hours, but this would turn into a novel, so I won’t. However, a few other notable performers playing at FYF that I think you should see are Tribe Called Quest, King Krule, Hannibal Buress, Björk and Cherry Glazerr! Have a great rest of your week, Aztecs!

Ashley Bajet,

signing out.

 

Featured Image by FYF.

 

Secret Sessions: Exclusive Interview with Mondo Cozmo

Josh Ostrander, known on stage as the legendary Mondo Cozmo, lit up The Casbah in San Diego on March 2, and he’s ready to do it again on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” this Thursday, March 23. Ostrander hails from Philadelphia and entered the music scene in 2000, when he fronted the band Laguardia until 2005. He then moved on, becoming the front man of Eastern Conference Champions. In April of 2016, Mondo Cozmo was born —“Mondo” originating from the 1969 John Waters’ comedy “Mondo Trash,” and “Cozmo” being Ostrander’s dog’s name—with his debut single “Hold On to Me.” The single was accompanied by a tear-jerking music video starring actress Anna Faris. Soon to follow was “Shine,” which hit #1 on Billboard’s Adult Alternative Songs chart this January. I got to speak with this superstar about working with Anna Faris, his tour, the funny story behind his lyric music video and much more.

We started off talking about his incredible music video for “Hold On To Me.” If you haven’t seen it already, make it your next priority. Mondo Cozmo grew up in a retirement facility in Philadelphia. This sparked the idea and collaboration from which the video was born.

“I asked my buddy Anna [Faris] to do it and she was just like, ‘I’ll do it,’ in a heartbeat. We shot that video for zero dollars and everybody who was in it just wanted to be a part of it,” said Ostrander.

M.C. said that when he wrote the song he was working two jobs and was label-less, and that the song was a prayer written for himself.

Shine,” which has hit over 2 million Spotify listens, is an uplifting, soulful mixture of cannabis, Jesus and guitar. The lyrics mention Jesus—as well as getting high—several times, but Ostrander says that to him, the song isn’t about religion.

“I think it’s a song of hope. I wouldn’t call myself religious at all, but when I wrote it I was like, ‘this is the closest thing I’ll ever write to like, “Let It Be.”’ You know what I mean? Or songs like that—they tap into this thing that’s maybe like a little bit bigger than yourself,” said Ostrander.

Of course, we had to discuss the fact that M.C. is besties with Anna Faris and her husband, Chris Pratt. He spoke extremely highly of their support and friendship. He then told me how he became friends with the couple.

“It was just a friend of a friend—we ended up going skiing together. I’m a terrible skier and Chris is a terrible skier, so we bonded over falling down this mountain together,” he said.

He also praised Faris’ role in his “Hold On to Me” music video and explained that the whole thing was unscripted and completely authentic. He mentioned that Faris normally can’t leave the house without being recognized, but in this project she was able to spontaneously dance with the residents of the retirement home.

“The people there all had dementia, so they didn’t know who she was. They thought she was a worker, so it was a really cool thing,” Ostrander said.

We also talked about his “arduous” endeavor to create a “Shine” lyric video, which actually only ended up taking him half an hour to complete.

“I didn’t know what a lyric video was. I guess it’s this popular thing, where the lyrics pop up from the song. It was like 8 in the morning and I was like, I don’t want to do a lyric video. So, I took my phone, and taped it to a mic-stand and I put it down on a table and I drew it all out and then I fast forwarded it in iMovie, and that was the video,” Ostrander said.

“People spend a lot of money,” he said, laughing. “It took me like half an hour.”

Ostrander had no shortage of hilarious stories. He was signed before the label (Republic) saw him perform, because at the time he was independently writing and creating music in his guest bedroom. They asked him to make a video of himself performing live in his house, to make sure he could play acoustic guitar. To this, M.C. had a strategic response.

“I was like, screw you man! I’ve been doing this for so long.”

“My girl was out of town, so I got all liquored up, I set up the camera—same camera—I set up my phone, and I shot it behind me, and I put on some like really tasteful ‘70s porn on the TV, so that’s going, and then I performed the songs acoustic, like with the TV right there. But while I’m recording I’m like, man, this sounds really good, they’re gonna release this. So when I finished it I went into iMovie again and I loaded up—you know in Star Wars, how the names roll up—I put everybody’s phone number that works at the label. So I was like, there’s no way they’ll ever put this out,” he said.

Ostrander’s iMovie skills continue to amaze me.

We talked about his early days at ECC. He happily reminisced about the band, but stood by his decision to leave in order to produce music more quickly. ECC didn’t disband contentiously – Ostrander just wrote songs quickly and wasn’t able to get the music out at the same pace.

“In a weird way, I had to quit the band to get music out. Looking back I know I made the right decision. It was a really, really tough, dark time for me. I was bumming, ‘cause I lost all my friends. It was really hard, but I feel good now,” he said.

There are some perks to the solo life though, said Ostrander. Being the sole decision maker, moving quickly and not having to answer to anybody are a few advantages he particularly enjoys.

Mondo Cozmo will be continuing his tour into the summer, with a short stop this Thursday, March 23rd on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Friday, he’ll be in Toronto, Canada with Bastille, and will continue on throughout the U.S. and then into the summer at several music festivals. M.C. credits Nirvana for igniting his passion in music and said, looking forward, that Pharrell Williams is an artist he’d love to collaborate with.

Also in the near future is the release of Mondo Cozmo’s highly anticipated full-length album. He said it’s completed, currently being mixed, and should be released this summer. He said he had the unique experience of creating the record “in reverse” because he was able to get “a feel for what people like” by releasing singles. He’s written 15 to 16 songs, and expects that 10 will be on the album.

M.C. is psyched to be on the road, and is happy this will be a busy year. He professed so much love and humility toward his fans. He said his fanbase has grown into something of a movement, and while he is happy for himself and his own growth, he’s also happy for his fans’ role in the success.

“I think I’m just a lifer, this is just what I do. This is the only thing that makes me happy at that level. And to give people that happy, it’s pretty cool. I feel like really humbled by it and I feel like I put my time in, and I’m ready.”

 

3 California Road Trip Destination Ideas

Spring break is almost here! With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of road trip ideas for those of you that don’t have plans.

  1. Yosemite

Photo by Edward Stojakovic. Click image to view source. Image is unchanged.

If you haven’t visited Yosemite National Park, put this place on your bucket list right now. Yosemite is home to some of the world’s most stunning landscapes, including Half Dome (a giant rock formation), El Capitan (another gigantic rock formation) and a ton of natural waterfalls, rivers and meadows that take your breath away. The serene beauty of this place is unparalleled on Earth. One of the best times to visit Yosemite is in the late spring or early summer, because that is when the fresh snowmelt runs into rivers and creates enormous waterfalls that pour down the mountains. If you are looking for an active destination, Yosemite is the place for you. There are numerous trails that anyone can hike, bike, run or swim. In Yosemite you can just enjoy being immersed in nature.

2. Malibu

Photo by Paolo Gamba. Click image to view source. Photo unedited. License.

Looking for somewhere sunny and 75? Malibu is just the place for you. Malibu is home to some of the most beautiful beaches along the coast of Southern California. This place is truly a gem. Although the water gets pretty cold around the winter months, it starts to warm up around early April/ May, and by summer it’s ready to be enjoyed by all the beach goers. If you want to explore Malibu a bit more when you visit, you can also check out the hikes in the area (which have AMAZING ocean views), many trendy shops and yummy restaurants.

 

3) Santa Barbara

Photo by Damian Gadal. Click image to view source. Photo unchanged. License.

Santa Barbara is yet another beautiful coastal destination for a road trip. When visiting Santa Barbara, there are two approaches you can take: you can hit all the touristy spots including the pier and shops along State Street, or you can explore and venture north a little into Goleta, which has some beautiful lesser known sites. Some of my favorite spots are Hope Ranch Beach, the Goleta Butterfly Preserve and Lotusland.

 

Featured Image (red van) by heyesther. License.